02/01/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 32)


12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 32

Date: 02/01/2013
Instrument; Tenor saxophone
Location: Home studio in Clinton, WA (Whidbey Island)


Multiphonics and tone clusters are possible over nearly the full span of the saxophone’s range. This excludes the bottom-most pitches, which generally must be played as overtones in order to create multiple pitches. Some of the pitches within these overtones and multiphonics speak very clearly, while others have a more muted sound. Some have tones that speak at uneven volumes. One particular pitch will be noticeably louder or quitter than the others. Today I worked with a multiphonic that works with this imbalance.

This multiphonic has a clear 6th interval in it, as well as a whole step below this sixth. This consonant chord was very beautiful to my ears, and by carefully opening and closing particular keys I created flutters, patterns, swipes and glides throughout different pitches in and around the chord. There was also a quarter step high “concert E” that acted as a drone. Although this pitch is not as present as many of the tones above it, its seclusion in the lower range and its wonderful muted quality actually makes it very audible. 

While playing improvisations of this sort, I’m often thinking about how the chord affects how I pace a piece of music. This chord and even all the elaborations I made to it felt to me very still despite all the activity. If felt like watching a bird traverse a fixed sky. A great deal of motion over an open plane of sight to frame it.